Kyrgyzstan: Former President Atambayev remanded in custody, wife under investigation

BISHKEK (TCA) — Arrested former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has been remanded in custody until August 26 while an investigation has been launched into his wife’s activities.

The Bishkek City Court on August 16 upheld a lower court decision to keep Atambayev in pretrial detention until August 26, the former president’s lawyer, Sergei Slesarev, told reporters after the hearing, which was held behind closed doors at the State Committee for National Security.

Atambayev’s wife, Raisa Atambayeva, who was among dozens of the former president’s relatives and supporters near the Committee building during the hearing, told reporters that many of Atambayev’s relatives have been under pressure from the authorities, have had their houses “illegally” searched, and that a criminal case has been launched against her, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

According to Atambayeva, the probe against her was launched in connection with the case of the ex-chief of the presidential office’s department for judicial system reform, Manasbek Arabaev, who was charged with corruption in June.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office confirmed to RFE/RL that Raisa Atambayeva is under investigation but did not give any details.

Atambayev was arrested on August 8 after he surrendered to police following a violent two-day resistance to police and security forces.

Slesarev told RFE/RL on August 15 that after the standoff, his client had been charged with a total of 14 crimes, including using violence against representatives of the authorities, organizing mass unrest, masterminding a murder attempt, hostage taking, illegal use of firearms, and several cases of corruption.

The resistance by the former president and his supporters resulted in the death of a top security officer and injuries to more than 170 others, including 79 law enforcement officers.

The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambayev and his handpicked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Raisa Atambayeva addressed President Jeenbekov with a request to think how he would look like in the eyes of his people and contemporaries, news agency reported on August 16.

“He [Jeenbekov] has been next to us for 22 years, next to Almazbek Atambayev. He has repeatedly been at our house with his family, said warm words about devotion and friendship. That all has been trampled now. All his assurances of friendship, the speech at his inauguration about the continuation of work initiated by Almazbek Atambayev are in the past. Let him think about what he is doing now with our family, former associates, the people. Let him think how he will look like in the eyes of the people. Rulers of the past never persecuted the wives, children and families of their opponents,” said Raisa Atambayeva.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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